Entrepreneurship is nothing if not a learning process, and the founders of @Twitch learned that they had to be open to learning.
Twitch was many things before it was Twitch, including but not limited to TwitchTV, JustinTV and Kiko. Justin Kan and a group of friends from Yale created Kiko Software, an online calendar that predated Google’s version. But the group failed to modify their product based on user feedback and it never took off. Kiko was sold for on eBay for $258,100, giving the team extra time to brainstorm a more viable start up idea. In 2005, just as webcams and broadband became more affordable, they came up with Justin.tv, one of the first sites to allow “lifecasting” or live streaming your daily life. Originally, it was only Justin’s life, which was seen with mixed reviews as some people didn’t like the reality TV aspect. Those who did like it wanted to do it themselves, and that’s when the idea really grew into something profitable.
JustinTV had two major pivot points, one in 2007 when they opened the site to allow other people to stream their lives, and another when they realized the highest traffic was in video game streaming. By listening to and observing what their users wanted and liked, JustinTV avoided making the same mistake as Kiko.
Twitch has grown and evolved many times over since its inception in 2011. There are now streaming celebrities who receive thousands of dollars a day in donations by fans who love their game play. Twitch is focused on encouraging a community feel with chat sidebars that allow viewers to interact with each other and the esports streamers. Hundreds of games are available to stream, including major playoffs and tournaments.
As of February 2018, Twitch now has 2 million broadcasters monthly and 15 million daily active users, falling right behind Netflix, Apple and Google in highest internet traffic in the US. By 2010, Justin.tv had raised $7.2 million in venture capital and had around 31 million unique users per month. The company went on to raise over $35 million in VC funding, and was then acquired by Amazon for $970 Million in 2014.